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Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

xxin   THE CHURCH OF S. SAVIOUR IN THE CHORA     299
might have regenerated the East had not the unfortunate political situation of their country driven them to Italy to herald and promote the Renaissance in Western Europe. Theodore Metochites was, moreover, a politician. He took an active part in the administration of affairs during the reign of Andronicus II., holding the office of Grand Logothetes of the Treasury ; and such was his devotion to politics, that when acting as a statesman it might be forgotten that he was a scholar. The unhappy strife between Andronicus II. and Andronicus III. caused Theodore Metochites the pro-foundest anxiety, and it was not his fault if the feud between the grandfather and the grandson refused to be healed. His efforts to bring that disgraceful and disastrous quarrel to an end involved great self-sacrifice and wrecked his career. For the counsels he addressed to Andronicus III. gave mortal offence, and when the young emperor entered the capital and took up his quarters in the palace of the Porphyro-genitus (Tekfour Serai), his troops sacked and demolished Theodore's mansion in that vicinity. The beautiful marbles which adorned the residence were sent as an imperial present to a Scythian prince, while the fallen statesman was banished to Didymotica for two years. Upon his return from exile Theodore found a shelter in the monastery which he had restored in his prosperous days. But there also, for some two years longer, the cup of sorrow was pressed to his lips. A malady from which he suffered caused him excruciating pain ; his sons were implicated in a political plot and thrown into prison ; Andronicus II., between whom and himself all communication had been forbidden, died ; and so the worn-out man'assumed the habit of a monk, and lay down to die on the 13th of March 1331, a month after his imperial friend. His one consolation was the beautiful church he bequeathed to succeeding generations for the worship of God. To the renovation of the church Theodore Metochites devoted himself heart and soul, and spent money for that object on a lavish scale. As the central portion of the building was comparatively well preserved,1 it was to the
1 Niceph. Greg, 1. p. 4.59 oSros afiportpq. xpyffd/j.evo$ 8e£t$3 vrXtyv TOV jaecram£rot; veQ trdvra /caXws ^7r«r/f€tfa<re, cf. ii. p. 1045.